Drug possession charges may be elevated to drug trafficking charges in cases where the drugs – marijuana – are found in great quantities. State and federal authorities typically make this determination based on the weight of the marijuana in question. Despite what the term implies, marijuana trafficking charges are not dependent upon any transfer from one suspect to another or across any county, state or federal boundaries.
An Overview of State and Federal Penalties for Marijuana Trafficking
Federal penalties for conviction of marijuana trafficking can range from less than five years up to 30 years imprisonment and fines of $250,000 upwards to $75 million. Meanwhile, Florida state laws also provide a framework for mandatory minimum prison sentences and other penalties. The severity of the punishment is dependent upon the amount of marijuana found and the suspect’s previous convictions record for similar charges.
Both state and federal authorities can charge suspects with drug charges, like marijuana trafficking. The prosecuting agency is determined by the facts of an individual’s case.
A Closer Look at Florida’s Marijuana Trafficking Laws
Florida drug laws apply marijuana trafficking charges to anyone who “knowingly sells, purchases, manufactures, delivers or brings into” the state 25 or more pounds of cannabis (i.e. marijuana) or 300 or more marijuana plants. In Florida, marijuana trafficking is considered to be a first-degree felony.
Mandatory Penalties for Marijuana Trafficking in Florida
Because marijuana trafficking is classified as a first-degree felony in Florida, the courts are required to adhere to mandatory minimum sentences.
Below is an outline of the mandatory minimum penalties and the associated charges:
- No less than three years imprisonment and a $25,000 fine: suspect is in possession of more than 25 pounds, but less than 2,000 pounds (or 300 to 1,999 cannabis plants).
- No less than seven years imprisonment and a $50,000 fine: suspect is in possession of more than 2,000 pounds, but less than 10,000 pounds (or 2,000 to 9,999 cannabis plants).
- No less than 15 years imprisonment and a $200,000 fine: suspect is in possession of 10,000 or more pounds (or 10,000 or more cannabis plants).
A person who is charged with marijuana trafficking in Florida and is seeking a lower sentence may attempt to call into question the weight of the marijuana and/or the number of cannabis plants included in the charges.
A Closer Look at Federal Marijuana Trafficking Laws
The government agency in charge of determining federal drug charges is the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The DEA includes possession of hashish, hashish oil, marijuana, and marijuana plants under its definition of marijuana trafficking. Second-time offenders – those who have a previous marijuana trafficking conviction – face the strongest penalties.
Below is an overview of the DEA guidelines for penalties and the associated charges:
- Less than five years up to 10 years imprisonment and $250,000 to $2 million in fines: less than 50 kilograms of marijuana (or, 10 kilograms or less of hashish or 1 kilogram or less of hashish oil).
- Up to 20 to 30 years imprisonment and $1 million to $10 million in fines: 50 to 99 kilograms marijuana mixture (or more than 10 kilograms hashish or more than 1 kilogram hashish oil).
- Five years up to life imprisonment and up to $5 million to $50 million in fines: 100 to 999 kilograms marijuana mixture (or 100 to 999 marijuana plants).
- 10 years up to life imprisonment and up to $10 million to $75 million in fines: 1,000 or more kilograms of marijuana (or 1,000 or more marijuana plants).
Those charged with marijuana trafficking at either the state or federal level may wish to contact a defense attorney who has experience in fighting drug trafficking charges. Call 877-663-5110.